There’s nothing worse than going into your cabinet, opening a box of pasta, and finding a handful of little black bugs gnawing away on your Cavatappi. Unfortunately, the kitchen is a hotspot for plenty of different pests. Like us, they are on the lookout for food, and there’s no place better to chow down than in your pantry. So, what exactly do you have crawling around in your kitchen and, more importantly, how can you get rid of them for good? 

What are the little black bugs in the kitchen?  

Depending on where you find them, those little black bugs can be any number of insects. The key to figuring out what you have is identifying them first. If you happen to spot little black bugs, there are a few possibilities. It comes down to what they look like and where you found them. 

  • Grain insects: These teeny tiny bugs typically hide in dry food pantries. They enjoy munching on foods like flour, rice, dry pasta, and cereals. Also known as weevils, or flour beetles, they are typically between 2mm and 3mm long. Unfortunately, they are also capable of laying over 300 eggs in a year.  Weevils will spoil food items when they hatch, and they can be very hard to see.
  • Carpet Beetles: Sitting between 1 and 4 mm, these oval-shaped insects enjoy eating cloth and carpeting. Unfortunately, they also like to sneak into pantries and eat cereal too. While these speckled insects aren’t harmful, they will ruin food.
  • Fruit flies: If your annoying little black bugs are in the sky instead of in your food, then you’re probably dealing with fruit flies.  These small, irritating pests run between 3-4mm long, and often seek out sweet smells. You can find them flying around ripe, or overripe fruits and other produce. They also tend to hover near fermented drinks, garbage, or moist areas, like the kitchen sink.
  • Black ants: These colony creatures can often be found foraging for food. While they range in size and style, these nuisance insects don’t pose health threats, but you don’t want them searching your kitchen. One ant can easily lead to many more, and therein lies the problem.
  • Cockroaches: The worst of the bunch, black cockroaches, or oriental cockroaches, can run as long as 25mm. These insects can often be found by drains and garbage disposals. Cockroaches like to remain hidden, but they like to hang in unbothered areas close to food. If they find their way into your pantry, they can also bring harmful food pathogens like Salmonella.  

While it’s possible that your invaders can be any one of these pests, you can easily tell what you have by size and shape. While ants and cockroaches are the worst of the bunch, don’t go panicking just yet. Once you’ve identified your pest, you are one step closer to being rid of them.

What are the little black bugs in the kitchen?  

Where do they come from?

Depending on the insect, these little black bugs can come from just about anywhere. In the case of weevils or flour beetles, they transfer from grain product to product via eggs. Since the eggs are near impossible to see with the naked eye, it’s easy for infected products to spread. 

Weevils usually come in your food already, and if they are kept in a hot or warm area, they can spread through your pantry like wildfire. Additionally, if you tend to keep products on your shelves for long periods, that can contribute to the spread. 

When it comes to other tiny black insects on this list, like ants, they can get in through any opening, cracks, or crevices they can find. Since these insects or so small, they will have no trouble finding their way in. Also, like fruit flies, they can simply hitch a ride on the food or packages you’re carrying.

How do I get rid of them?

Again, this process is dependent on the type of bug. Regardless, the first step you should take is cleaning the infected area. A thorough cleaning can get rid of pheromone trails, sanitize surfaces, and the scent can deter bugs in the future. Also, cleaning can not only kill some of the insects, but it can also clear out their food source.

For weevils, it’s as easy as disposing of the contaminated food. You can kill the bugs by freezing them or exposing them to extreme heat and then thoroughly clean the area. If your cupboard contains plenty of grain products, beans, and rice, check everything. Once you’ve disposed of all the necessary foods, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.  Do not use pesticides; this will not stop the weevils or flour beetles from coming back.

With carpet beetles, it’s a good idea to vacuum and steam clean your carpets, drapes, and furniture. Steam is key, as it will kill larvae and eggs before you suck them up. For fruit flies, the easiest way to get rid of them is to remove the produce and set out a dish of apple cider vinegar, and cover it with plastic wrap. The sweet smell will draw the flies in, and they get trapped by the plastic barrier.

If ants are your problem, an easy solution is using ant bait. Ants will follow the sweet smell and take the bait back to the colony, killing it at the source. Cockroaches, on the other hand, can be tricky to find and can cause serious health issues. It may be best to contact a pest control expert.

How do I prevent them from coming back?

How do I prevent them from coming back?

The best way to keep most pests out of the kitchen is to perform regular maintenance. Seal any possible entryways, fix leaky pipes, and keep the kitchen tidy. This will deter most insects looking for an easy meal. 

When storing food, including pet food, use air-tight containers. Keep your pantry in a cool/dry place, and don’t let food sit out for too long. When purchasing dry foods especially, use the cycle process; use the oldest foods first and clear out the cupboards.

Finally, make sure you clear out any decaying produce, change your garbage often, and use a can with a lid. As always, you can reach out to a pest control expert for regular inspections and be sure any infestation is gone for good.

From ants to weevils, little black bugs in your cabinet can be an issue. The key to getting rid of them is determining what you have and taking action. While some bugs have a simple solution, others can be harder to deal with. If you’re having trouble with an infestation, contact a pest control expert and keep your cabinets sparkling.


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